Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Sets Historic MCU Drop at the Box Office

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Star Lord and Gamora

Marvel Studios had a historic weekend at the box office thanks to the MCU's latest theatrical release, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

The MCU got a huge boost of optimism with Guardians of the Galaxy 3's debut. Fans and critics praised James Gunn's final MCU outing with words like "brilliant" and "heartbreaking" - some even calling it the best Marvel movie since Avengers: Endgame.

This threequel put the franchise back on the map in 2023 after seeing a great deal of disappointment with Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.

But how is that excellent opening weekend translating in terms of long-term success?

Guardians 3 Sets New MCU Box Office Pandemic Record

Guardians of the Galaxy posters, money cash

As shared by Box Office Pro, Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 had an estimated second-weekend domestic box office gross drop of only 48.9%, earning $60.5 million this weekend after a $118.4 million opening at the start of May.

This marks the best-ever second-weekend for a Marvel Studios-produced sequel, and it's also the lowest drop for an MCU movie since 2018's Black Panther.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is one of only five MCU movies to ever drop under 50% in their second weekend, the rest of which can be seen ranked below:

  • Black Panther - 44.7%
  • Thor - 47.2%
  • Iron Man - 48.1%
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - 49%
  • Doctor Strange - 49.5%

For comparison, 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy had an impressive 55.3% drop in its second, while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 came incredibly close at 55.5%

Looking at the Multiverse Saga, Vol. 3 far exceeds every other MCU movie's second-weekend box office drop since 2021 - its closest competitor being Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which only dropped by 54%:

  • Black Widow - 67.8%
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - 54%
  • Eternals - 62.3%
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - 67%
  • Thor: Love and Thunder - 67.6%
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - 63.3%
  • Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania - 69%
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - 49%

Guardians 3 Success Signaling MCU Resurgence?

After the success that James Gunn had with his first two Guardians movies, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is sure to help out the MCU after so many struggles over the past couple of years.

Sure, Marvel Studios has had only one true flop financially over the past couple of years (Marvel Studios even made a profit from Thor: Love and Thunder), but seeing this kind of success shows how strong the franchise's staying power truly is.

Even considering the delays that may hit the franchise thanks to extenuating circumstances like the ongoing writers' strike, Guardians 3 serves as a refreshing relief to fans' worries that the franchise was in real trouble.

While James Gunn is now on his way to the DC Universe as the co-CEO of DC Studios, Marvel has a chance to keep up this level of success over the next couple of years with sequels like The Marvels and Captain America 4.

And with mutants officially on the way in 2024 with Deadpool 3 along with a pair of massive team-up movies for the Avengers closing this saga of stories, Guardians 3 could be the start of another great run for the red brand sooner rather than later.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theaters worldwide.

- In This Article: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Release Date
May 05, 2023
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.